Rumori di Spogliatoio

Tartu: one weekend with Tammeka – part 1

Angelo PalmeriComment

Erkenbrecher: ”football is better than sex!”

Concentration. Concentration. Concentration.

Uwe Erkenbrecher repeated this word very often during Tammeka’s Friday the 22nd afternoon training. It was the last training session of the season ahead of the important return game with Rakvere Tarvas that took place on the 23rd. Tammeka won 4-1 and managed to stay in Premium Liiga for season 2014.

Training in the gloomy sky of Tartu at Tamme Stadium complex (RdS)

Training in the gloomy sky of Tartu at Tamme Stadium complex (RdS)

It was the return game however Tammeka were not be able to play the home tie at ‘Tamme staadion’, as the pitch was not deemed in a decent condition for the clash: squad and fans had to move to Valga, a 14,000 inhabitants town on the border with Latvia.

Obviously, Erkenbrecher was not happy about this, told to RdS very vividly the 59-year-old German coach: ‘‘last week they had four games here, and now we cannot play!’’. He hinted at the fact that Tammeka’s game should have been prioritized by the company controlling the stadium and pitch preserved ahead of a game which he defined as a ‘cup final’ for his side.

Also in a post match interview he did not miss to criticize ‘Tartu Sport’, the company controlling the stadium (check the below video)

Erkenbrecher’s emphatization of concentration during training it is important in a match build-up, he explained us: ‘‘as a coach, you need to have even higher stress conditions during a training than in a game’’ pointed out, ”otherwise, you will not have it later in the game and then you have trained for nothing’’. This is the reason why he was not keeping silent during the session and he was constantly pushing his players into doing more. ”Tomorrow!” kept repeating, as almost reminding his men what they were doing in that moment was needed for the last clash of the season.

Ahead of the away game in Rakvere, Erkenbrecher was a bit superstitious and did not want to talk too much whether Tammeka would have managed to stay in Premium Liiga or not. After the 2-1 win, we tried to see if he was more relaxed and he told us: ‘‘I am always realist’’ said imperatively ”The realistic situation is that we did not leave anything behind us in Rakvere, it was a matter of very good luck!’’ admitted the German. ”Luckily we did not leave Rakvere with a loss or a draw, we are in a very good position: we just have to win the game, we do not need a 3-0 or 4-0, just a win’’.
They did not need, but it was a nice present for Uwe who has recenlty turned 59, as Tammeka were already leading 3-0 in the first thirty minutes of the game, Premium Liiga was locked in the safe where Rakvere would have not been able to take from.

Here you realize the attitude of the experienced coach and how he knows how to handle pressure and the various psychological facets of a long and consuming season.

‘We don’t need to win 3-0 or 4-0…’ sure Uwe, sure (Jüri Raudmaa)

‘We don’t need to win 3-0 or 4-0…’ sure Uwe, sure (Jüri Raudmaa)

He clearly did not want himself and the squad to dwell on the slight advantage and preferred to think that it was a 50-50 situation with maybe a ‘‘small positive package in our pocket’’ as he literally defined the 2-1 earned in Northern Estonia. ”Tomorrow (Saturday the 23rd  – A.P.) it is a cup final – I will tell the players: if we win, we go to Europe! Forget the other games, they do not count: just one game, this game!”. He had not lost his sleep over the late goal scored by Tarvas and explained to RdS very well why: ”in any game, you can see which are our strengths and which are our weaknesses, so also this game gave a good picture as we suffered that goal” he admitted very honestly ”actually, I think it was good! It will keep us awaken and focused for tomorrow’s game and not dwell on a 2-0 win” concluded admitting though that, in general, a Premium Liiga side should never concede a goal to a down-to-ten-men Esiliiga one ”that was not good…”.

Considering how Tammeka faced the challenge, the message was delivered very well.

Field officers Tenno and Tiirik (jktammeka.ee)

Field officers Tenno and Tiirik (jktammeka.ee)

Erkenbrecher’s future at Tammeka of course depended also upon this game (his one-year contract expires on the 31st of December), however it is not the only side of the story. He is well aware of the financial situation affecting him and his players; however, he hopes that it will be fixed in time for next season relying especially on the possibility to work with the same team that he has patiently built up during his first season.  He has a 21-points to-do-list for next season, he told RdS; clear ideas about two players that should be there for him all the time and a plan for them to be a role model for the youngest ones: Kristian Tiirik and Siim Tenno. ”My both captains’’ as he calls them ”should always be on field – it is very important for us, as we do not have so many experienced players” explained the German coach.  He was not getting tired of stressing their importance on the field since he cannot enjoy having an assistant coach that would help him all the time. A professional role that, according to him, need to be filled at Tammeka and he remarked as ”urgent”.
For the time being, ‘Tirka’ and Tenno have been his field officers reporting to the general how the battle was going.
Kristian Tiirik, who won the Estonian FA prize for the best goal of the season along with being acknowlodged so also by RdS readers, is thinking about hanging the shoes to the wall. Spring is far and a lot things will happen till then, still time to change one’s mind, we hope.

It was also a chance to draw a line on Erkenbrecher’s experience in Estonia.
He stressed that, compared to his previous spell in Indonesia where he coached for a short period, here the conditions are much better and approximately as in the rest of Europe. He emphasized on the need for all the Estonian football movement to grow and improve.

Penalty? (RdS)

Penalty? (RdS)

Following his last controversy with the referee on the touchline (a penalty granted to Kalju which was given for a foul outside the box – A.P.) we could not avoid asking an opinion about the Estonian referees.

Erkenbrecher did not refrain from commenting: ”if Estonian football has to improve, they have to improve more – I’m older and I am supposed to show more respect, so I will not use the same language used by Martin Vunk, but I can agree with what he wanted to mean”.
He also added that probably 30% of the off-side decisions taken during the season have been wrong.

Chair’s folded, season’s over (RdS)

Chair’s folded, season’s over (RdS)

He also disclosed us the meaning behind the chair he is carrying all the time at the games: ”sometimes benches are not so comfortable, there is not enough space for everyone and I don’t want to sit close to the players: I prefer to keep distant from them, so I bring this chair with me. It is also a way not to make them nervous, I have my own program to follow” explained Uwe admitting that he has had his own chair sometimes also when he was in Germany.

Our long conversation ended with a very philosophical question: what is football according to Uwe Erkenbrecher?

”It is first a game. It is also a fight of course: you need that fighting spirit to play the game, but in the end it is a game” explains Uwe who, in the end, does not delude us and uses one of his colourful metaphors to explain his philosophy ”if you see a three-players combination with one-touch quick passes leading to a goal…this is better than sex!”

Tammeka fans are hoping for multiple orgasms to come next seasons

(1-continues)